In July we wrote about Google Analytics and how associations can leverage the data collected to learn more about their customers. Since Google Analytics is free to obtain and easy to install – everyone is using it. In this post we dive a little deeper into some of the technical background on how Google collects the data and how it can be customized.
- Index = the number identifier for the custom variable ranging in value from 1-5
- Name = the name you would like to specify for the variable, such as Member Type
- Value = the data element you set for tracking purposes
- Opt_scope = this parameter is optional and permits you to specify the behavior of the variable to visitor, session or page level
In the Google Analytics platform on the web, sophisticated custom reporting is available. However, the basic metrics pale in comparison to what you can do by adding your association’s custom variables. Let’s say, for example, your association added organization type into a custom variable, and in reviewing your data (see chart below) from September, you discovered the organization type of University had 3 spikes in time spent on the site and 1 of them was so substantial it led you to ask more questions about why. In the end you were able to conclude that the increase was the result of publishing a white paper on the rising costs of education and in digging deeper you found that 90% of your members came to the site to read the paper. Naturally that is a hot topic – so what if you could get 90% member attendance on a paid webinar to dig deeper into its importance?
Now that you’ve seen how valuable it is to add custom variables into your Google Analytics tracking code for your association, I will step out of the way so you don’t run me over rushing to implement them on your site.